It’s funny how the brain works. I have been thinking about Greensburg and Meade, Kansas for the last day or so. I have no idea why really. Here’s my theory.

I miss my family and the combo of the holidays and the election turmoil here in Kenya is enhancing that and I’m thinking of happier times.

Meade: I keep seeing the old drive in on the highway in Meade where we used to stop for a cherry limeade when we were going between Liberal, my hometown, and Coldwater, my dad’s hometown. It’s only a two-hour trip but who are we to pass up a tasty cherry limeade? That drive-in has been a variety of things since those days and now I stop at the grill on the east end of town, unless it’s a Saturday since the owner is a Seventh Day Adventist and is closed on Saturdays. It’s funny how we take on habits and traditions of our family. I was a kid when we would stop on the other end of town for a limeade with my family and now even when I drive across Kansas by myself, I make a point to stop for a limeade in Meade. My great Aunt Carrie used to live up above a drug store or something at the main intersection in town there and we would stop to see her sometimes. Huh, the things you remember.

Greensburg: This is about half-way between Liberal and Wichita or Sterling. There used to be a great burger joint on the west end of town where we’d stop to go to the bathroom and get ice cream. I actually remember this more from my college days and when I lived in Sterling. Coldwater is only 20 miles or so south of town and you knew you were getting close to ‘home.’ One time Grandmother and Grandad met me at the burger joint for some ice cream when I was coming or going, I can’t remember. It was fun though. There was a huge tornado that went through Greensburg just before I moved from Minnesota this past summer. I drove through it shortly after they opened the highway and it was awful. It looked like a war-zone complete with the MASH unit alongside the highway.

Rural America. Man I love it. Small town America is where some of my dearest memories lie.

What makes us remember what we remember and forget what we forget? Why do we remember things randomly, just when we need some comfort? All I can say is because God loves us. He shows us joys in life in ‘simpler’ times. He lets us soak in the love that we have from and for others in those memories. He reminds us that things will get better, nothing is permanent and to live and love.

What will I remember most about my time in Nairobi? The elections? The disaster? The fear?

I don’t think so.

I think I will remember walking to Java House with a friend. I will remember the hug with a co-worker after seeing each other the first time since Christmas. I will remember the times I prayed with a friend late at night after a disturbing text message. I will remember sharing good food and laughs with my friends. I will remember the quiet awe of watching God’s creation as the sun rises over the mountains. I will remember crying for joy and a bit of sadness as I open presents that come in the mail from my family. I will remember that I don’t always cry when I open presents but sometimes dance for joy throughout the office, sharing whatever treasure has arrived. I will remember a coworker telling me that I’m not like other wazungu in a good way. I will never forget the way God is working in Kenya and in me.

Thank you, Lord, for the mystery of memory.